✓ Migration of distal ventriculoperitoneal shunt tubing is known to occur in a wide of variety of locations. The authors report an unusual complication involving a previously confirmed intraperitoneal shunt catheter that migrated into the heart and pulmonary vasculature. Radiographic evidence suggested that this occurred secondary to cannulation of a segment of the external jugular vein with a shunt trochar during tunneling of the distal catheter. This is the sixth reported case of a peritoneal shunt tube migrating proximally into the heart.
The authors review the literature regarding migration of distal tubing into the heart and pulmonary artery. Based on imaging studies obtained in the present case, the authors posit that the mechanism for this unusual type of shunt migration is inadvertent penetration of either the internal or external jugular vein during the initial tunneling procedure. Negative intrathoracic pressure and slow venous flow then draws the catheter out of the peritoneum and into the vasculature. The distal catheter then migrates into the right side of the heart and pulmonary artery. Diagnosis and management of this type of complication is discussed.